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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #45 --- Christian Love
Quotations on Christian Love (Christlike Love)
Christian love is the sweet spiritual fragrance of that divinely cultured flower, the regenerated and converted heart. Love is the dominant tone in the harmony of Christian character.
—William M. Anderson, Sr., Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Oct. 8, 1922.
Christian love is best when practiced on your neighbors at their worst.
—William Henry Bucklew, The Starkville News, Starkville, Miss., Sept. 10, 1948.
Mature Christian love gives us the ability to love those who disagree with us, perhaps even to love those that hate us without a cause. We cannot make our opinions a standard of love and hate.
Mature Christian love gives us the ability to love those with nothing to offer us. We must not love just those who bless and flatter us, but even those who spitefully use us. ...
Mature love must be accompanied with wisdom and discretion. Love without toughness of character will either make us fools or slaves of others.
—Randall James Chesson, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Jan. 12, 1980.
Is there any hope for peace and unity in our world today? This very important question is in the mind of most people. The very lack of peace and unity is evident as we read our papers and observe other pictures of the distressed condition of our day. Nations see only through eyes of fear and suspicion. Distrust and hatred are evident, even while peace and unity are being sought through the mechanics of formal peace parleys. This vein of hatred is not confined to the broad area of international affairs nor to the affairs of our nation. It is found first in the hearts of individuals who lack the sense of inner peace and continue to reject the peace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus came into the world to show by a living example and a suffering sacrifice, the way to personal and world peace. His was a mission of love. John tells us that out of God’s holy love, grew His willingness to make the abundant life possible through His death and resurrection. Truly He is the Prince of Peace.
The Master came teaching not a completely new law but rather giving a new meaning to the old law. The law of love was too restricted. All that it required what that one love those who were lovely. It is not too hard for us to love those who love us and express their love in a way that attracts our affection in response to their love for us. This shallow love is possible without the teaching and example of Jesus. Jesus said we should love our neighbor and those who love us but this is not the full measure of Christian love. The Master demands that we love even those who hate us. This is the point of real difficulty for many of us. The self that is within us seems to constantly lead us to love only those who love us.
It is, indeed, difficult to understand how so many Christian individuals can accept the Love of God in Christ and at the same time seek opportunity to bring hurt into the lives of those who seem not so lovely. In time of war we are prone to hate the enemy. Our overtures of love are heard only after victory is secured. We have often forgotten that God did not wait until we turned to Him in love. He sent His only Son to reveal His love for us while the world yet hated Him. The Christian must be active rather than passive in love. As Jesus pointed out, the sinner loves the sinner; the Christian must love both the sinner and the fellow Christian.
The apostle Paul knew the true meaning of the Christian concept of love. He knew what it was to grow in Christian love. Paul the man who hated the Christian Church and was willing to personally bring persecution upon those who believed in Christ; Paul the man who, because of God’s love for him, responded to the call of Jesus and became a lover of all men. It is from this great Christian’s heart that we receive the exhortation to put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:14.) It is only through the reality of this principle in our lives that we may have true and lasting peace and unity.
How can we have this principle of love in our hearts? The answer is found in our response to the grace of God through Jesus Christ. We must through our faith in Jesus as our Savior, have the abiding presence of His Spirit in our hearts. With His presence comes the power of God’s love which alone gives to us the power and desire to love even as He has loved us. With this great love in our lives we shall have the grace to grow in our Christian love. Then we shall know that there is hope for peace and unity but not apart from our Lord. God is Love.
—Fred Lee Gardner, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., Sept. 16, 1954.
"Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2.)
Spiritual pride can lead to an overinflated notion of one's worth in the sight of God and man. ... Showing off ... spiritual gifts [is] hardly commensurate with Christian love.
Suppose I had enough faith to remove a mountain. Of what value would its removal be? It might demonstrate God's power, but the world around us is more in need of a demonstration of God's love. ... You may have the most accomplished tongue, the most amazing foresight, the greatest head and heart in the world, but, for what do you use them? To show how greatly favored of God you are? Then love is absent and you demonstrate the purposelessness of greatness.
Faith incomplete, without love, has done much to embitter the world. It has been the cause of the harsh dogmatism, the unlovely life of many who have claimed to represent the spirit and practice, the authority and ideal of the church. Wherever in the same life you find deep convictions and shallow sympathies, you have the possibility of such unconscious cruelty. If loveless faith addresses itself to the task of removing mountains, it often removes them from its own path only to set them down in a brother's; and even if some souls are crushed in the process of this great feat of faith, what does that matter? Faith may make a thing possible of accomplishment, but only love can make it worth doing and insure it being well done.
If I have all these things to their superlative degree, and lack the proper motivation of it all, love, what does that make me? "I am nothing." I may have fine qualities, many virtues and divine gifts, but without love I lack Christian character. "I am nothing." Here is the contrast between what a man has and what he is.
Holding all faith, all knowledge, all ability will not enable me to accomplish God's purpose unless I exercise his primary and basic gift, love. "Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13.)
—David Holland, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., April 14, 1989.
Life is a tasteless, savorless thing without genuine love. The best measures of life are not time, pleasure, happiness, wealth, learning or achievement, but qualitative love. When such a virtue is permitted to play the field, work is lifted above wearying levels of chores and boredom. Duty becomes delight in the atmosphere of love's activity.
An old proverb stated, "He who has love in his heart has spurs in his side." Spurs--those tiny, spiked wheels used on boots of horse riders. When forward motion and speed are desired, the spurs are pressed against the horse's side.
Look at the people who get so much done. Watch the relative ease by which they tackle routine as well as unexpected chores each day. Then when evening comes, they still have not lost all zest and livability. What is their secret? Is it a mania for work? A compulsion to achieve, which, like heady wine, drives them in ever-increasing speed? Is it artificial stimulation--chemical or otherwise?
Many times the secret is obvious: Love is the motivating force of such a person. This type of love overrides the negative forces which drain off energy, enthusiasm and purpose.
The Christian conception of love is more inclusive than sentimental emotion or physical endearment. Involving the total personality, such rare love produces its own security. Having a good sense of realism, Christian love refuses to sanction indulgence which produces heartaches and misunderstanding.
At the same time, Christian love stubbornly refuses to be reduced to everyday, commonplace, easily explained feelings and facts. Spontaneous generosity, patient desire to understand, and a concentrated resentment when lust is called love are but a few of love's characteristics.
Among the scented trees in the old South few, if any, are more beautiful than the magnolia blossoms. The big, oval petals form cups of white against a background of slick, green leaves. All that is needed to change the white freshness of the magnolia's blossom into wilty yellow is to blow hot breath on the petals.
Pure love can yellow into a wilting, faded affair when the hot breath of lust blows. Jesus Christ said that all the law--man's and God's--is summed up in genuine loving.
—Roy O. McClain, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 25, 1965.
From the Christian point of view, love is not so much a thing you do as it is something you are. ...
Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 13:34.) Love, for Jesus, was not just something He did, it was something he was. Love in this sense is a state of being. It is not a feeling nor an emotion but a way of acting. Such love presupposes nothing lovely or desirable in its object; it is concerned in no way with its own needs and their satisfaction, but only with the needs of others. It does not seek to get or possess, still less to contemplate, but only to give. ...
Christian love is a state of being, an orientation of character that determines the way a person will relate himself to the whole world, not just toward select persons or at select times.
—Donald D. Landon, Saints' Herald, Independence, Mo., Oct. 15, 1964.
The higher one mounts in character, the wider becomes the range of affection, the keener becomes the sensitiveness about the hunger and suffering of others. When we come to our Lord, we find that He took upon Himself the sins of the world, as if He Himself were guilty. Now, if we are to be Christlike, we have to feel every man's sin as our own, every man's pain as our own.
—Fulton J. Sheen, North-Central Louisiana Register, Alexandria, La., Aug. 19, 1955.
Christian love, which makes us seek for others that which is best for them, is the simple but effective solution for the great problems of today, inasmuch as it involves justice, considerateness and universal good will.
—Frederick D. Niedermeyer, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 14, 1926.
“I will run the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” (Psalms 119:32.)
Excuses given for reluctance in obeying the commandments of the Lord are many, but the psalmist gives the only reason–smallness of heart. The large heart is needed to meet the divine requirement of confession of Christ before men. To confess Christ in an atmosphere of unbelief–in the presence of men and women whom one meets in business and social relationship, where the commands of God have no consideration or weight–is an act of moral heroism and a test of one’s real devotion to Christ. He of small heart falters and fails.
There is need of the large heart to endure joyful service for Christ. Service for Christ is our privilege–our duty. It is the evidence of our discipleship and the test of our devotion to the Lord. We will not and we cannot do much of Christlike service for others if we do not have a great heart of love. ...
The large heart is needed in order to obey the commandment to love one another as the disciples of Jesus Christ. “This is my commandment,” said Jesus, “that ye love one another.” “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” There is so much that is imperfect, faulty and unlovable in us all that sometimes we find ourselves despising the person when we ought to hate his fault, but love him, even as Christ loves him.
Turn your thought from the disciple to the Lord. You can trust Him unto the uttermost. His love will not fail. It will meet your utmost need if you trust Him.
—C.B. Allen, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 19, 1917.
It is love that makes faith glow with perpetual hope. It is love that keeps knowledge from being conceited and overbearing. It is love that makes self-control sympathetic and thoughtful and considerate of those who have not mastered themselves. It is love that gives patience the power to suffer long and wait for the good that some day must come. It is the love that makes brotherly kindness enthusiastic in serving others. It is love that finally, permeating all of the virtues of Christian manhood, expresses itself in a Christlike character to all the world.
—J. Whitcomb Brougher, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 26, 1925.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity." (2 Peter 1:5-7.)
There can be little without faith. Without the soil of faith in which the roots of the tree have penetrated, these gospel graces will not flourish. Everything Christlike springs from faith. After spreading and growing it becomes love. That is as high as a Christian can reach, for God is love and love is God. For a Christian to grow till love is attained means that all these other graces, patience, brotherly kindness, etc., must be practiced and thoroughly learned. ... I want to say something of brotherly kindness. There are few graces that are calculated to do our fellow man more lasting good, there are few Christian characteristics that bring forth richer fruit for our Master. ...
Other graces that are Christlike are patience and temperance. There is no more beautiful characteristic than patience. It is sweet, it is angelic, it is born only of faith and is closely akin to love. ... We should be temperate in all things. Man marshals vast armies and guides storm-tossed vessels and yet is frequently unable to control his tongue. Much woe and misery have been caused by bitter words spoken by a bitter tongue. It is a member that should be temperate.
Let us all practice these graces; let us grow in them till we have added faith to our virtue and knowledge to our faith; till we have reached love.
—M.M. Davis, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, April 13, 1896.
"Whenever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness." This simple but profound thought was uttered 2,000 years ago by the famous pagan philosopher, Seneca, voicing an eternal truth which he little realized had been infused into his very being by his Creator.
A liking for people–for everybody and anybody–must be the distinguishing mark of one who is determined to make his life count. God so made man that he becomes a more complete human being every time he befriends his fellowman.
So the more you reach out in love beyond yourself, your home, community and nation to all men--to the very last man on earth–the fuller and richer your life becomes.
On the other hand, if you place limitations on your love, if you tend to be exclusive and show a liking only for the few, you cripple yourself in many ways. You stunt your spiritual and intellectual growth. You become the victim of your own dwarfed personality.
Do all in your power to develop such a Christlike love for every human being that you will be on the lookout for every opportunity to serve humanity.
"As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40.)
—James G. Keller, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Oct. 21, 1957.
It is difficult, if not quite impossible, for one to say of anything, with absolute certainty, “This is the best,” or “This is the worst.” If one so expresses one’s self, another with greater intelligence and more experience may say with much more accuracy that something else is best, or some other thing the worst. It is, therefore, the better part of wisdom not to dogmatize, nor to speak with too much assurance of things about which there may be a divergence of opinion, and upon which one person’s judgment will be as weighty to another’s. It is somewhat presumptuous, therefore, to point out specifically the noblest calling in life; for as soon as it is named, someone may prove conclusively that we have used the superlative degree inadvisedly.
However, whatever its name, it is evident that man’s noblest work must be impregnated with the greatest of all forces, love. Furthermore, this power must be directed not for selfish purposes, nor to achieve personal ends. Though self-preservation is the first law of nature, a calling that has in view only the preservation of self cannot be called noble, a term that excludes all sordidness, and includes greatness of mind and generosity of soul.
The noblest calling in life, then, must be one in which the attribute of love will manifest itself not for self, but for others. It must be that calling which most nearly emulates true motherhood, the mightiest of all forces in human society. Indeed, if motherhood were not a “distinct and individual creation,” we could pause here and have all true men agree that it is the noblest, purest calling in life; and that which makes motherhood sacred it the Christlike element of giving her life for another. “A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands, but a mother’s love endures through all.”
The element, then, that makes true motherhood divine must also permeate that call of vocation which may be distinguished by the term noblest. The most worthy calling in life, therefore, is that in which man can serve best his fellowmen. It isn’t preaching; it isn’t teaching; it isn’t medicine; it isn’t engineering, nor any other vocation common among men. Each of these, though offering opportunities for service, may be followed by men actuated by the most selfish and sordid of motives.
The noblest aim in life is to strive to make other lives better and happier. Browning sounds the keynote in Paracelsus, when he says: “There is an answer to the passionate longings of the heart for fulness, and I knew it. And the answer is this: Live in all things outside yourself by love and you will have joy. That is the life of God; it ought to be our life. In Him it is accomplished and perfect; but in all created things, it is a lesson learned slowly against difficulty.”
Such is the philosophy expressed by the Redeemer in the seemingly paradoxical statement, “He that will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” The meaning of this becomes clear in the light of another passage which says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my servants, ye have done it unto me.”
—David O. McKay, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, April 3, 1924.
Draw nearer to God, to purify the heart, to increase love for all mankind, and to strengthen the souls of men. If harmful habits and pleasures are abandoned, a richer experience will take place.
We must look beyond our practices of material denials and discover that all conduct must needs lead us to the foot of the Cross where the insistent cry of the Son of God is distinctly heard: “Come Follow Me.”
The world midst its prejudice, hatred and selfish, ill-gotten gains is in need of salvation. We have the answer to the world’s deepest need yet our failure to reveal the love of God in the person of Christ ... has caused us to shun a responsibility toward those who do not know the blessings and joys of Christian fellowship. ...
Develop spiritual strength through quietness of soul. This is an attainment that can be achieved only in your practice of regular and consistent worship, so that your Christian discipleship may be manifested in your service and allegiance to God.
—Vilas F. Bursack, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., March 18, 1952.
Love is the deepest thing in human life and the highest thing in Christian fellowship. But love is vague and formless until it finds expression; and its most effective expressions are in sacrifice and service.
Sacrifice and service, through the eyes of love, intensify our vision so that we are able to see things in our fellowmen that we have never seen before. ... Sharing their common life and their discomfort, [we] discover those deeper bonds that unite men in spite of all their outward differences, when they are face to face with great tasks and responsibilities.
—William E. Gilroy, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Alexandria, La., April 19, 1930.
Love, according to Christ, meant putting forth the best that is in one, that the person loved may have something that will be for his highest good.
Love, then, is service, the giving of one's self. St. John contrasts this love with fear. Real love brings peace, through a manifestation of loyalty and cementing our friendship. Fear brings dread, the sense of unreliability of others, the necessity of standing alone.
—Herbert J. Glover, New York Times, New York, New York, June 30, 1930.
[The] love for which Christ pleads is not the emotional feeling of a man for his wife or a mother for her son. Rather, it is simply a desire for the best that life can give for the other person, no matter who or what he is.
—John F. Anderson, Jr., Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Sept. 25, 1954.
Love is the real badge of the Christian.
—William Bayard Craig, San Antonio Daily Express, San Antonio, Texas, May 10, 1909.
Love is the gauge of Christian power. When any Christian can love as God loves, he can do God’s work.
—J.B. Cranfill, Baptist Standard, Waco, Texas, Oct. 24, 1895.
The gospel of Christ is an expression of love; therefore, its principles are the principles of love. These principles are most beautifully taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The underlying, ruling principle of the gospel of Christ is love. That man who is sincerely anxious to make the most effective contribution of his life to humanity's uplift must be done according to the divine standard of Jesus Christ.
—P.R. Huckleberry, Childress Index, Childress, Texas, June 14, 1921.
One is sound in love when love becomes the controlling motive in his actions, dominates his life, subdues all other emotions and casts out all improper emotions. Love is also capable of improvement. A man cannot be a healthy Christian if his love for God and man is not in good working order. He is like a man with a sour stomach or a torpid liver. We will be controlled by love or by selfishness and envy. We will be lovely or unlovely according as our hearts are sound in this matter.
—P.I. Lipsey, The Baptist Record, Jackson, Miss., Jan. 15, 1920.
The depth of our Christian experience can be measured by the radius of our love.
—Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 29, 1947.
Love never leads to sloth or selfishness or ease, but to service. So we may measure our love by our service. Get clearly what the love of Christ led Him to do, and dare, and then see clearly where it will lead us.
—E.M. Randall, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, June 7, 1909.
Christian love is another name for faith in motion, for faith applied, for faith realized.
—Christian Observer, Louisville, Ky., Jan. 10, 1906.